“Do you have a boyfriend or husband who would be jealous or uncomfortable with you working at Hooters?”
While that question would seem odd in most interview situations, it’s fairly understandable in an atmosphere like Hooters. At the time, I got to say no and luckily I can still say no – though now just in regards to the second part – to this day. This weekend however I got a front row seat to why that question, and an honest answer, is oh so important.
Saturday, we had a new girl on her second day of training. She seemed like a good hire which given recent trend was rather refreshing. She was inquisitive, helpful, friendly and actually studied for her tests. No on ever studies for their tests no matter how many times I reassure them that they are actually hard. Believe it or not I’m not lying to you when I say that it’s difficult. And yes, I do take a slight amount of pleasure when you fail. I did warn your ass after all.
Anyway, this girl – even on only her second day – seemed to me like a great Hooters Girl in the making. Of course she just had to go and prove me wrong. Or more specifically her creepy, clearly overbearing boyfriend decided to prove me wrong. He just had to ruin the fun for everyone. Douche.
New girl comes in, we set up the restaurant in record time and things are going well. We’re ready way before opening at eleven because we’re totally awesome. By the time we unlock the doors we’re ready to go and apparently so are the football fans; as soon as the doors are open people come streaming in. Tables are quickly sat and drinks are run. It’s a typical NFL Sunday and new girl is handling it like a champ. I mentally add that to the list of things that will make her good at her job.
|This is less creepy than what actually happened.|
Then she gets weird. She goes from bubbly to quite so quickly I think she’s gotten sick. Suddenly something is wrong and it’s glaringly obvious. Scanning the restaurant it’s apparent that the “something” is a single customer sipping a soda and intently staring at our newest trainee. It is a powerful, disconcerting stare and even without being directed at me, makes me uncomfortable. He watches her every move from her interactions with tables to the dumping a plate of leftovers into the garbage. It’s all weird as eff.
“That’s her boyfriend or fiancé or whatever,” remarks the girl who’s directly training her today. “He was here on her first shift too just hanging out and watching her work. It’s so uncomfortable and awkward.”
And it was uncomfortable and awkward. Especially when he started shooting the “I love you” sign at her across the room shaking his hand until she took notice. That’s when enough was enough and my manager went to talk with him. After a few minutes of talking, the boyfriend got up and left. Finally.
Things returned to normal. Until he came back and found his way to my bar. He took a spot in the corner and continued his staring. Eventually, as I was putting in an order, he turned to me.
“Is it against the rules for you girls to flirt or something?”
I wasn’t really sure where he was going with the question, but I told him that while there was no rule against it, flirting wasn’t really acceptable but that often people take our good service and kindness for flirting. Suddenly I found myself on the receiving end of him validating his reason for being there. For a while I just let him go.
“You know,” I said eventually, “you really don’t need to justify anything to me. And while it’s not technically against any rules for you to be here, it seems to be making your girlfriend really uncomfortable. I mean don’t you think it makes it a little hard for her to do her job with you hanging around? I promise nothing is going to happen to her while she’s at work today, but honestly it may if you keep doing this. Our owner really doesn’t like boyfriends hanging around and I don’t think you want to put the job she just started in jeopardy. I’ve seen people let go for far less.”
He thought about all that for second and again tried to justify why he was there. I realized then it was a lost cause. This guy was a controlling boyfriend in every sense of the word and nothing I was going to say would change that.
The next day, the new girl never showed up for her shift. But I wasn’t surprised. I had a pretty good feeling that she went home, he got pissed and she was told she couldn’t work at Hooters anymore. It’s a shame, but hardly unexpected. Boyfriends always have issues with Hooters, but really in the end the issues are far deeper than a job involving short shorts.
Too bad we lost such a good one.
Please remember to keep voting for me in the Hooters Halloween Costume Contest on Facebook! You can vote once per day, per account until November 1st. My poor, MBA school ass would really appreciate you taking the time to vote. And telling your friends. Or your mom. Or you cat if he has a page. You get the idea.